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Mountain West analysis: With 15 games remaining, six teams can claim at least a share of regular-season title

Feb. 28—The UNM Lobos had Tuesday night off, but the 10 other Mountain West men's basketball teams were in action. Games were competitive, unpredictable, absolutely entertaining and in several instances, very much undecided until the last moment.

The road team won four of five games on Tuesday. The one exception was 22.5-point underdog San Jose State, which was within three points of upsetting San Diego State in Viejas Arena in the final minutes.

Two games were decided in overtime.

Two games featured last-second, banked-in 3-pointers at the end of regulation by road teams. One was from 30 feet out by Utah State's Darius Brown II to avoid an upset at Fresno State (the league-leading Aggies then won in overtime). The other was by Nevada's Jarod Lucas, who hit a shot from a few feet beyond half court to give Nevada the road win over Colorado State. On the Wolf Pack's previous possessions, Lucas — a 91 percent free throw shooter — missed 3 of 4 free throws. Rams' star Isaiah Stevens then knocked down the tying shot with under 3 seconds remaining before Lucas' improbable buzzer beater.

Yes, Tuesday night pretty much encapsulated in one night a Mountain West regular season that, with 15 games remaining, has been competitive, unpredictable, absolutely entertaining and still very much undecided.

Here's a look at what remains to be decided in a league still hoping to get six teams into the NCAA Tournament.

Standings

The current Mountain West standings through the midweek slate of games:

t1. Utah State (11-4)

t1. Boise State (11-4)

3. San Diego State (11-5)

t4. Nevada (10-5)

t4. UNLV (10-5)

6. New Mexico (9-6)

7. Colorado State (8-8)

8. Wyoming (6-9)

9. Fresno State (4-11)

10. Air Force (2-13)

11. San Jose State (2-14)

A league championship

Standings, and league championships, are determined by league records. There are no tie-breakers in either standings or championship scenarios.

Tie-breakers, even head-to-head records, are used ONLY for seeding in the Mountain West Tournament.

The Mountain West conference (and every Division I conference in the country for that matter), determines its league champion by the regular season, NOT by its conference tournament.

Yes, broadcasters throughout the NCAA Tournament refer to a team that won its conference tournament as the "Champions of the (insert league name here)," but in reality, there is a league champion and a tournament champion. The latter is the one that gets a league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Conference tournament seeding is where tiebreakers and head-to-head records come into play, which is why there are often shared or co-champions.

In the Mountain West men's tournament, the top five seeds get byes into the conference tournament quarterfinals, which start on Thursday, March 14. Seeds 6 through 11 play in the first round, which starts Wednesday, March 13.

Six of 11 teams are still alive for at least a share of a Mountain West regular-season title and five that have been eliminated, including one (CSU) that entered league play ranked the highest, but is now sitting at 8-8 and in seventh place.

Team-by-team

Here's a look at each team's remaining schedule, whether they can still claim at least a share of the league championship and what KenPom.com predicts will be their final league record:

t1. Utah State (11-4)

—Remaining schedule: Friday vs. Air Force; March 6 at San Jose State; March 9 vs. New Mexico

—MW championship possibility: Yes

—Seed possibilities: 1-6

—KenPom record projection: 13-5

t1. Boise State (11-4)

—Remaining schedule: Saturday vs. New Mexico; March 5 vs. Nevada; March 8 at San Diego State

—MW championship possibility: Yes

—Seed possibilities: 1-6

—KenPom record projection: 13-5

3. San Diego State (11-5)

—Remaining schedule: March 5 at UNLV; March 8 vs. Boise State

—MW championship possibility: Yes

—Seed possibilities: 1-6

—KenPom record projection: 12-6

t4. Nevada (10-5)

—Remaining schedule: Friday vs. Fresno State; March 5 at Boise State; March 9 vs. UNLV

—MW championship possibility: Yes

—Seed possibilities: 1-6

—KenPom record projection: 12-6

t4. UNLV (10-5)

—Remaining schedule: Saturday vs. San Jose State; March 5 vs. San Diego State; March 9 at Nevada

—MW championship possibility: Yes

—Seed possibilities: 1-7

—KenPom record projection: 12-6

6. New Mexico (9-6)

—Remaining schedule: Saturday at Boise State; March 6 vs. Fresno State; March 9 at Utah State

—MW championship possibility: Yes

—Seed possibilities: 1-7

—KenPom record projection: 11-7

7. Colorado State (8-8)

—Remaining schedule: Saturday vs. Wyoming; March 9 at Air Force

—MW championship possibility: No

—Seed possibilities: 5-8

—KenPom record projection: 10-8

8. Wyoming (6-9)

—Remaining schedule: Saturday at Colorado State; March 5 vs. Air Force; March 9 at Fresno State

—MW championship possibility: No

—Seed possibilities: 7-9

—KenPom record projection: 7-11

9. Fresno State (4-11)

—Remaining schedule: Friday at Nevada; March 6 at New Mexico; March 9 vs. Wyoming

—MW championship possibility: No

—Seed possibilities: 8 or 9

—KenPom record projection: 5-13

10. Air Force (2-13)

—Remaining schedule: Saturday at Utah State; March 5 at Wyoming; March 9 vs. Colorado State

—MW championship possibility: No

—Seed possibilities: 10 or 11

—KenPom record projection: 2-16

11. San Jose State (2-14)

—Remaining schedule: Saturday at UNLV; March 6 vs. Utah State

—MW championship possibility: No

—Seed possibilities: 10 or 11

—KenPom record projection: 2-16